What are believed to be remnants of the destroyed 18th century Great Synagogue of Buchach, (or Buczacz) have been discovered during construction work to build a store on the site.
The uncovered remnants appear to include parts of the Bimah.
The synagogue was built in 1728-1748; it was devastated during WW2 and its ruins were demolished after the war; the site has been occupied in recent years by a market. A Beit Midrash that stood next to its entrance was razed in 2001, according the Shtetl Routes.
Both the Great Synagogue and the Beit Midrash, were mentioned in the novels of the Buchach-born author S.Y. Agnon, winner of the 1966 Nobel prize in literature.
Victor Grebeniovskyi of the Buchach-Art NGO has informed the Center for Jewish Art in Jerusalem that construction begun recently to build a new store there had revealed buried remnants of the synagogue. He said that the concrete foundations of the store had been laid two meters below the surface.
“Fragments of carved stones were transferred to the Buchach Museum, [and] some ashlars [dressed stone] were moved to the Buchach-Art courtyard,” he said. “Other hewn lime stones remain on the building site.”
Sergey R. Kravtsov, of the Center for Jewish Art, informs JHE that “Comparison of the photographs [of the construction work] by Yuri Bazanov and Victor Grebeniovskyi with the archival photograph of the synagogue’s interior (courtesy of the National Museum in Lviv) proves that the unearthed spolia belong to the Great Synagogue. ”
The photographs by Bazanov and Grebeniovskyi show hewn stones and fragments that were unearthed and removed during the excavation for the new foundations, piled up at the edge of the site.
In addition, they provided photos of some of the dressed stone fragments, apparently from the Bimah.
Grebeniovskyi said the Buchach-Art NGO is planning to construct a commemorative wall with the unearthed stone fragments — similar to memorial walls erected at some Jewish cemeteries — and install signage with information and historical photos of the Great Synagogue, in order to mark the site.
He writes that he had agreed with the contractor that the contractor would “place a manhole” above some of the ruins in order to enable the researchers to access at least part of the site in future.
To date, he said, no archaeology has been carried out there.
This is in contrast with the site of the destroyed Great Synagogue in Vilnius, Lithuania, where an international team of archaeologists has been carrying out excavations for four years and has made extraordinary discoveries — including the remains of the Bimah.